Jury rejects Democrat County Attorney Vince Ryan’s gambit to overturn election of Dave Wilson

Dave Wilson - Home Sweet Home!

Nearly two weeks ago, Houston Chronicle reporter Ben Wermund reported that Dave Wilson had prevailed against Democrat County Attorney Vince Ryan’s effort to overturn his election to the HCC board.

The main problem with the reporting? My setup just gave readers more context than did the largely unedited area newspaper of record. Here are Wermund’s pitiful first two grafs:

Harris County officials hired a private investigator to trail Dave Wilson for four days in their quest to prove he didn’t live where he claimed when he won a seat on the Houston Community College board in November.

But the evidence they gathered and presented in court this week – from clandestine footage of Wilson loading barbecue meats into his wife’s vehicle outside a warehouse, to pictures of the spare, clean apartment inside – wasn’t enough to convince a jury that Wilson was lying about his residence.

Ambiguous county officials. No reference as to how much this partisan vendetta — the only such effort made by the County Attorney’s office in the last ten years — cost taxpayers. But at least the reporter did get around to noting that Wilson prevailed in the court action (although the setup of those two grafs says a lot about how the reporter and editors — if there are any at the newspaper these days — actually feel about the development).

Readers are left rather clueless about what county official drove this behavior (Democrat County Attorney Vince Ryan) or what might have motivated him (pure partisan shenanigans, as far as we can tell).

Indeed, Democratic consultant Marc Campos, who occasionally deviates from the party line, offered more background on this story than did the Chronicle.

If the Democrat County Attorney or other partisans think that residency requirements for election purposes are too ambiguous in Texas, then by all means they should work to change those laws. Attempting to enforce such laws selectively to overturn the results of elections with which the partisans disagree, on the other hand, is not behavior that should be tolerated from the Harris County Attorney. And the area newspaper of record ought to be reporting with greater clarity on such shenanigans — ambiguous references to “county officials” verge on journalistic malpractice.

As for Wilson — he will continue to serve on the HCC board, and seems to be maintaining a sense of humor (as evidenced by the photo at the top of the post that he provided).

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX


  1. Unbelievably, the Democrat County Attorney Vince Ryan has decided to continue to his partisan vendetta against Dave Wilson:


    At this point, it appears that the out-of-control County Attorney is just determined to waste taxpayer resources in an effort to force Wilson to spend more money to defend himself.

    Has there ever been behavior this brazenly corrupt from a previous Harris County Attorney?

  2. And the Chronicle continues its string of pitiful reporting here:


    While the (bad) reporter does work in a quote from Marc Campos (you’re welcome for the suggestion!), neither Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan nor his political affiliation (Democrat) are mentioned in the piece, keeping the Chron streak of omitting key facts alive. Rather unbelievable!

    The Chron also prints this quote from the County Attorney’s office, which verges on journalistic malpractice:

    “If Mr. Wilson can claim he lives in a warehouse at the same time he has a homestead exemption at another location, then anybody can claim to live anywhere.”

    His wife has the homestead exemption, not Mr. Wilson. That may seem like a distinction without a difference to some — apparently the pitiful reporter included — but it’s a legal technicality that does matter, and an editor should have insisted on the elaboration, because the assertion is inaccurate on its face.

    Just another day at a bad newspaper.

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